A South African court has sentenced members of a white extremist group to jail terms ranging from five to 35 years for high treason, plotting to kill Nelson Mandela and other charges in one of the country’s biggest post-apartheid treason trials.
Some 20 members of the Afrikaner extremist group Boeremag last year were found guilty of treason over a plot to violently overthrow the country’s government in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The African National Congress formed the government when Mr Mandela was elected to office in 1994 to bring an end to white minority rule.
Some members were also convicted of culpable homicide and conspiring to murder for a thwarted plan to kill Mandela. The group also claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in Johannesburg’s Soweto township in 2002.
Judge Eben Jordaan handed out the sentences in Pretoria to end the decade-long trial. Some sentences were suspended due to time served.
The leader of the group and four members of its bomb squad were given some of the longest sentences. They planted a bomb on a road Mr Mandela was going to take for a visit to a school in Limpopo Province, but the plot was foiled when the anti-apartheid leader changed plans to take a helicopter to the school.
Having already served 10 years, those getting the heaviest sentences will serve 25 more.